“In 32 years of service in the Corps I have not experienced such extreme conditions.” This was pointed out by the head of the Fire Brigade, Lieutenant General Georgios Pournaras, during a press conference given today at the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Policy on the progress of the forest fires that have occurred.

Read about: Kikilias: The situation is extremely critical – Within five minutes, the first air ambulances arrived at the fire in Parnitha

As Mr. Pournaras said, the fires show an extraordinary ferocity even in the evening when they expected the wind intensities to decrease, they reached 6-7 Beaufort and the gusts reached 8 Beaufort.

“You understand that even at night, when at other times in previous years the fires were treatable, now they are becoming more difficult to treat. The Fire Brigade is one of the few services pan-European and even international where firefighters operate even at night. The staff puts up a huge fight with self-sacrifice, overcoming physical and mental limits”, emphasized Mr. Pournaras.

As he said, since the beginning of the fire fighting season, and especially in the last period, all the Fire Department personnel are working on the fires that occur every day, and he pointed out that all the personnel are on general alert. “Every day since the beginning of the season we have had 50-60 fire events. They were also successfully treated. After the prolonged heatwave and the season of harvests unfortunately the conditions changed. This particular dry heat period with the onset of strong winds made the fires very difficult to fight“, noted Mr. Pournaras and underlined that the conditions are extreme.

Then Mr. Pournaras referred to the fire that occurred in Closed Tribe Monastery yesterday. “For example, yesterday’s fire that occurred in the Cloiston Monastery and is now in Parnitha, occurred at 11:56. In the first 5 minutes, ie 12:01, an aerial vehicle operating in Aspropyrgos was over the fire and after 2 minutes, only 4 aerial vehicles were over the fire. Nevertheless, the fire grew in size. You understand what extreme conditions we are talking about and how fiercely all fires are now spreading“, he said characteristically and underlined: “There are reports in both Rhodes and Evros that the fires exceeded fire protection zones of 50, 100 and 200 meters. Conditions are difficult. Too hard. There is a huge fight going on and the fight will continue.”

Police assistance in evacuations

The Head of the Order Branch of the ELAS, Major General George Michalopoulos, stated that in Alexandroupoli Evros 1560 police officers assisted in the preventive evacuation of 14,316 residents

The assistance of the Greek Police in dealing with the forest fires of the last period of time was mentioned by the head of the Class Branch of the ELAS, lieutenant general, George Michalopoulos, during the press conference held at the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection on the evolution of the forest fires.

In particular, as he said,

– in Alexandroupoli, Evros, 1,560 police officers assisted in the preventive evacuation of 14,316 residents of 33 settlements and in the release of 76 animals.

– In Western Attica, 744 police officers assisted in the release of 188 people and 100 animals as well as the preventive removal of residents of 6 settlements.

– At the same time, as he pointed out, increased order and security measures are being taken by the police forces in the affected areas to avoid thefts and house burglaries.

“The staff of ELAS, acting from the first moment in accordance with the instructions of the Minister of Citizen Protection and the head of ELAS, participates in the wider operational planning and actively cooperates with human resources and means in dealing with the fires that occurred in the last period of time in the whole country with the greater part of the forces assisting in Evros and Attica. In particular, essential assistance is provided to the fire brigades acting to extinguish the fires through the application of emergency traffic regulations with, as the case may be, prohibitions, interruptions and traffic diversions through the preventive evacuation of areas, the release of people and animals as well as the protection of human life and property of the residents in the affected areas in cooperation with 112 and with the constant presence of an ELAS representative at the National Civil Protection Operations and Crisis Management Coordination Center”, noted Mr. Michalopoulos and underlined: “ELAS will continue to be on constant alert and alert for the provision of assistance and support in the work of the fire brigades as well as in the work of the preliminary investigation authorities for the causes of the fires”.